Interim Ministry is an important and challenging time for a Congregation. Add the challenges of the COVID pandemic and the unexpected and heartbreaking news of the passing of Rev. Mark Ward and you have a real test of a Congregation and Interim Minister. As we look forward to working with our incoming Lead Minister Rev. Audette, we’d like to highlight the amazing work Rev. Cathy has led during the past 2 years.

Interim Ministry is built around five development tasks or focal point areas: history, religious education program identity, interim leadership changes, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) linkages, and commitment to the future. Rev. Cathy reminded us that Unitarians have a long history in western North Carolina and Asheville. A Unitarian Fellowship was established in Asheville in 1950, grew into a church in 1962, and then moved into the current Sanctuary in 1972. UU Asheville has had a history of long, healthy relationships with Lead Ministers, a sign of a committed and mature Congregation.

Our religious education program has continued to thrive despite the challenges of COVID. A commitment to Religious Exploration remains a highlight and focus of UU Asheville and was strengthened during Rev. Cathy’s interim term. We continue to have a vibrant RE program with dedicated staff and outstanding, committed volunteers. Of course, the kids continue to be amazing, and we now welcome our little ones and their families into our new “Wee Worship” area in the Sanctuary.

After Linda Topp, our Director of Administration retired, Rev. Cathy worked hard to find the right person, the well qualified Wendy Motch-Ellis. A key leadership role at UU Asheville, the Director of Administration collaborates with many people behind the scenes to make things work.

The UUA’s assistance was instrumental in our successful Ministerial search. Rev. Keith Kron, head of the UUA Transition Office, hosted a well-attended training in beyond categorical thinking to prepare UU Asheville for an inclusive Ministerial search. His office was a key in working with our Ministerial Search Committee to connect with candidates.

With the leadership of Rev. Cathy, the Board worked hard to create our vision for a bright future of fiscal sustainability by establishing our four pillars; Care Connect, Annual Giving Drive, Long-Range Planning, and Legacy Circle. Our community is strong and looks forward to welcoming and working with Rev. Audette. So, as Rev. Cathy’s time with us winds down, please take a moment to personally thank her for a successful Interim Ministry.

The UU AshevilleTransition Team (John Bates, Nancy Bragg, Jensen Gelfond, Julie Ransom, and Buck Schall)